The first step in forming a new special education interlocal cooperative

The El Dorado USD 490 Board of Education took the first step in forming a new special education interlocal cooperative during their meeting Monday evening.

The board voted 7-0 to approve a resolution for the termination of the sponsoring district role by USD 490 and notice will be sent to the other districts in the co-op.

This action had to be taken in November to get the process started so they would be ready to have a new interlocal agreement in place by July 1.

"The timeline we had started with was to look at this meeting as the opportunity to do away with the sponsoring district," said Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services. "We need to take official action then to inform all the other districts in Butler County we no longer want to be the sponsoring district of the co-op."

He said the other districts could decide if they wanted to be the sponsoring district, but so far none have said they want to be.

Following the approval of this resolution, another resolution will be brought to the board in December to approve an interlocal agreement.

Wilks said the timeline is for all nine districts to take action in December to approve the agreement and move forward with a new interlocal agreement that would form its own board of control.

"For most districts, it will be no different for them," said Superintendent Sue Givens.

One key thing that will have to be done as they go forward is to appoint a board member to serve on an interim board to serve as a planning board.

Givens said Tim Knowles, the Uniserv director, has helped them come up with ideas for making the transition smoother for employees.

Givens said this transition would be important for the 400 to 500 employees from the co-op who will be moving to the new interlocal agreement as part of this process.

"He (Knowles) also at the same time will form an interim association leadership group for the purposes of the teachers bargaining," Givens said.

She said this would help get things lined out by July 1 for a base contract through planning for such things as sick leave, evaluations, working conditions.

"The big thing for you to understand is you will need to appoint a board member," Givens said.

That interim board will meet once a month and will include a board member from each of the nine districts and all of the superintendents. Also, they have had interest from other districts to be part of that interlocal agreement.

Once all of the districts approve the resolution for the new interlocal and to disband the old agreement. The new interlocal agreement will be filed with the State Board of Education and the attorney general. The attorney general then has 90 days to approve or disapprove the agreement, although Wilks said that usually takes 40 to 45 days.

"By doing that in December, that gives all of the boards time to work with who their representative needs to be for the interlocal board to meet and start the planning process to create the new entity," Wilks said.

Julie Clements can be reached at